The first week of June is sliding by, and we seemed to have plunged into summer already.
We have had an abundance of rain this spring, but it seems to have encouraged an overflowing crop of fruit in our hills. The blackberry vines hang heavy with white blossoms and little green berries, and the raspberry vines are also loaded. It looks as if there will be a bumper crop this year unless the old adage is true—if it rains on a certain day in June there will be no berries. Amma Brown used to quote that old saying, but I can’t remember which day was designated.
Apple trees are full of little green apples; evidently a late frost didn’t affect the fruit. Elderberry bushes flaunt their burden of green berries, and it seems that there will be jelly making, apple butter and applesauce this year. The spring rains have caused a lush growth of greenery, and the leaves on the trees become fuller and fuller. The hills fairly shout with the exuberance of life, and I am reminded of the Bible verse in Isaiah that says, “For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” (Isa. 55:12)
I remember one Sunday morning when we lived down in the old house, when even the wild animals seemed to be rejoicing at the coming of warm weather. I was cooking breakfast and happened to glance out of the window over the sink to spy a wild rabbit serenely eating clover under the clothesline. He would glance up occasionally as I slammed a cabinet door or rattled a cooker lid, but then he continued to eat sedately. In a few minutes, he was joined by another bunny. I was enchanted to see them chase one another in circles, just like two puppies will play together. Then I saw the third rabbit come up over the creek bank and join the party.
They seemed to be bursting with the sheer joy of living. They played and romped for well over an hour, while we were in and out of the house, and watching them from the front porch. They didn’t seem to be a bit alarmed by our presence. Then with a saucy flip of their powder puff tails, they were suddenly gone up into the woods. Just as they left, however, one of them made a sudden charge at a fat robin that had been sitting on the ground watching all the carrying-on with a beady, critical eye. The robin flew up in alarm, and you could almost hear a rabbity chuckle as he went up the hill!
Even the little ones are beginning to appreciate the wonders of the great outdoors. I remember grandson Adrian when he was playing in the yard when he was about five years old with his cousins, Jessica and Abigail, who were five. The girls were picking handfuls of the tiny brown mushrooms that grow profusely in the grass this time of year. Alarmed, I cautioned Adrian not to handle them, as he sucked his thumb. “These might be poison,” I admonished him. “If you get them on your hands, and then stick your thumb in your mouth, it might make you sick.”
The girls lost interest and walked away, while Adrian squatted down and studied the mushrooms. “Who put them there?” he asked me curiously. “Jesus did,” answered. His eyes brightened, and he yelled at the girls, “Hey girls, Jesus put these mushrooms here.” Then he grew quite solemn, and asked in a pleading , “Please don’t step on Jesus’ mushrooms!” I pray that he might always keep this reverence for all of God’s creation.
He is now a grown man, but he still has a tenderness in his heart for God’s creation. He has had some rough days, but they are behind him now. It might seem strange to some, but it is true that you can carry the same love and concern for your grandchildren that you do for your children. At one time, we had numerous small grandchildren that ran in a pack between family houses. It is a joy to see the beauties of nature through the eyes of a child. Perhaps it is because they live so much nearer the earth that they absorb so many things that we adults take for granted.
With so many little ones around us, I was presented with bouquets of wild flowers several times a day. Sometimes there were dried up clover bloom and ragweed mixed in with their offerings, but I always bragged on them and thanked them sweetly. One time I was proudly presented with all my blooming crocuses clutched in a hot, little hand. I am still not forgotten—one of the great-granddaughters brought me a bouquet of daisies and arranged them in a vase that decorates my coffee table.
I’ll never forget picking flowers for an aunt that we were going to visit. Mom and her brood of young’uns walked out of the holler on that day and it was hot. Trudging down that dusty dirt road, we were so happy to hunt and pick a large bouquet of wildflowers. We talked among ourselves how thrilled she would be to get our beautiful flowers. And she did accept them with a glad cry of surprise, and thanked us sweetly. After being there half an hour or so, I happened to glance into a wastebasket and see our cherished flowers stuffed into it. After all these years, I still remember the shock I felt. I may have had some strange vases of flowers gracing my living room, but I didn’t throw any of them away—and I still don’t.
Grandson Reuben and I spent much time exploring the woods and fields. He was so much younger than his two siblings were, the cousins were all older, and there wasn’t anyone around except his grandma and Aunt Patty. He helped me gather herbs, explore the woods and pick berries. The little ones are all gone now, married and raising families of their own. I am sure that they will teach their little children to appreciate nature, and also stress moral principles. May they learn to have a close relationship with the Heavenly Father, who created this world of beauty and loves all of His children.